The Royal Bank of Scotland’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) report for May shows the fastest growth in the Scottish private sector since July 2017. Job creation was at a 41-month high, with extra staff recruited to manage the extra work. A PMI figure above 50 represents economic growth, and Scotland’s seasonally-adjusted PMI for May was 53.7, an increase from 52.6 in April.
Meanwhile, a report by business consultancy EY found foreign investment projects in Scotland rose by seven per cent in 2017, with 116 projects identified, up from 108 in 2016. There was also an increase of research and development projects. 2017 is the third consecutive year in which foreign investment in Scotland has reached a record high and Scotland remains the second most attractive place in the UK behind London for foreign investment.
Commenting on the EY report, Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International (SDI), said: “This survey illustrates that Scotland is now firmly established as a location of choice for global investors. To be the number one UK location for R&D investment and the number one UK FDI location behind London generally is a tremendous achievement. In recent years, our inward investment activity has become more focussed, targeting our resources on those areas of opportunity and companies where we see more likelihood of success, and it’s great to see that these efforts have paid off and we’re starting to make inroads in areas like digital and high value R&D projects, and increasing investments from markets like China.
“Yet the competition for inward investment continues to be fierce; Scotland has had to deliver three consecutive record years to retain this ranking, and we can’t rest on our laurels. The economic return to Scotland from FDI is considerable, so we must continue to build on the international reach and connections that exist across many parts of our economy, to attract even more new inward investment to the country. Now is the time for a collaborative approach to accelerate international growth, and the new global brand campaign Scotland is Now has been a significant development for us; representing a confident, consistent and bold approach to build a positive and meaningful story and brand for Scotland.”
The top five countries investing in Scotland in 2017 were the US (36 projects), Norway (10), France (9), Ireland (7) and China (6).